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Digital innovation boosts Rwandan construction sector

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Rwandan construction sector has undergone major digital reforms allowing the industry to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, Solange Muhirwa, Chief Urban Planner at the City of Kigali has said.

Ms Muhirwa says that the Covid-19 pandemic has hindered movement of people and as such they have had to use technology to continue serving customers while curbing the spread of the virus.

“All non essential construction projects have been stopped to allow social distancing, only critical services in the industry are being undertaken,” she said.

The City of Kigali is now using a new digital system in construction dubbed electronic Building Permit Management Information System (eBPMIS) to make it  easier and faster to process construction permit applications in the City and secondary cities around the country.

The system, Ms Muhirwa notes, has helped in solving many problems associated with queues as well as save time that architects and engineers have been spending to verify the status of the permit applications.

Construction services have also been merged with land registry to allow seamless provision of services. this has enabled the City of Kigali to issue occupation certificate and land title deeds at the same time.

The city has also introduced a product it calls The Package Service which offers a number of services under one application. The advantage of this move is that a customer can apply for electricity, water and a certificate for Environmental Impact Assessment.

This, observes Muhirwa has greatly reduced the time taken to receive this crucial documents.

“It now takes less than 60 days for customers to obtain building permits down from 11o days”,she said.

Additionally, a live chat system is being used to allow immediate communication in case of an issue with building permits and or any other services the city offers.

Another reform that the City of Kigali has undertaken is doing soil testing for the entire phase 1 of the city, and the data is available to the public.

“We continue to receive new applications despite the covid-19, says Muhirwa. “We are now working remotely she adds.”

However, the City Planner says that due to the pandemic, the Rwandan construction sector may not contribute as much compared to last year.

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